It's Karua vs Gachagua in Mt Kenya, David Murathe says

Jubilee vice-chair David Murathe. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Picking Martha Karua as Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s running mate has tilted the race in Mt Kenya, Jubilee vice chair David Murathe has said.

Mr Murathe, who was speaking on KBC radio, said Ms Karua's nomination has helped ease concerns of voter apathy in the region.

He added that this now means the battle for votes is between Ms Karua and Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate Rigathi Gachagua.

“We had a lot of apathy because there was no candidate from the region. But Martha Karua has energised and excited that ticket,” said Mr Murathe.

He said voters who had told him they would not vote were now enthusiastic about turning up to vote for Ms Karua.

Mr Murathe said the Azimio-One Kenya coalition was confident of securing at least 60 per cent of votes in the region. “The minimum we will do is four million votes,” he claimed.

Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate Rigathi Gachagua. [File, Standard]

He said the decision by Azimio to pick Ms Karua was informed by the choice made by the United Democratic Alliance.

“If you go to Mt Kenya now, the game is not between Raila and Ruto, but between Martha and Rigathi. Who can best take care of the interests of Mt Kenya? It is obvious," he said.

Mr Murathe also spoke highly of President Uhuru Kenyatta's tenure, saying he has laid the ground for development of the country to take off.

He added that some of the credit also deserves to go to Raila who, by agreeing to work together with President Kenyatta through the 2018 handshake, had helped make the country peaceful and stable.

"We have had peace and stability so that the people can do their businesses," he said.

He noted that Kenya was a contrast with neighbouring countries suffering political strife.

The former Gatanga MP said Raila had proven he could be depended upon to take over leadership of the country and transition it to greater heights.

"Right now we believe that the person we can depend on in the transitional arrangement is Raila.

"The country needs a mature leader who will have the interests of women and the youth," he said.

 Raila Odinga’s running mate  Martha Karua. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Mr Murathe added that Ruto, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Mr Gachagua "have had positions in government from as far back as 1992 but had not offered any solutions."

The Jubilee official also claimed the relationship between the President and his deputy had broken down earlier than had been made public.

He suggested that the cracks begin to emerge as early as the first days of their tenure when they were picking Cabinet members.

Mr Murathe said the government had been shared out disproportionately.

The display of unity in 2017, he added, "was just putting up a façade for voters but they were not together."

Mr Murathe claimed that Dr Ruto had the most "lucrative and essential" slots in the cabinet and gave them all to one community.